Here at TVOvermind, we often receive material from the networks that, out of good conscience, we cannot share with our readers. For instance, last week I got my grubby paws on the first five minutes from the Season 8 premiere of ’24,’ airing tonight at 9/8c. The whole “good conscience” thing prohibits me from posting it, but as I am an individual of mediocre conscience, I’ll give you a play-by-play. But caution! There be spoilers in this article.
The camera tracks the New York City skyline in the early dawn hours as the digital clock, reading “6:00:00” beeps across the screen. Street vendors bustle about, taxi cabs dash by pedestrians whilst horns blare. The camera moves down 7th Avenue until it settles upon a steel and glass building the Garment District. The camera stops, focused on the front door. The dull roar of the city quiets for a moment as the camera focuses on a young man of Middle Eastern descent as he walks by the building. Dressed in a black trench coat and sunglasses, he’s holding a newspaper in one hand. He looks around, scanning the sidewalks. He stops at the front door of the building. Checks left, then right, then reaches out —
AND IS BLOWN BACK BY A MASSIVE EXPLOSION INSIDE THE BUILDING. Glass shatters and fireballs boom outward, tossing the man back into the street among millions of tiny shards. He tumbles right into the oncoming path of a black SUV. He curls into a ball, flinching as the SUV’s brakes squeal. He presses his eyes shut, preparing for the inevitable, but the SUV amazingly comes to a stop mere inches from his head. Breathing hard, he rests his head on the ground until the slam of a door rings across the street. He’s yanked up by his collar and pulled behind the car as a volley of gunfire sounds from the other side.
“Get down!” a silver-haired figure yells and the camera zooms in to reveal the grizzled visage of none other than BILL BUCHANAN! The Silver Fox LIIIIVES. Bill pops out from his cover to unload a clip at the door. “Damn it, Jack,” he whispers as he crouches to reload.
Another explosion booms and the SUV rocks from the impact. The camera pulls in tight on the entrance and, from the flaming debris, JACK BAUER vaults through the shattered door, a volley of gunfire in his wake. Except… what’s this? He’s wearing a hideous peacock muumuu and combat boots. The skirt of the muumuu flutters out gracefully behind him as he books it for the car, screaming, “My cover’s been blown, Bill! Get in the car!”
The camera moves to the skyline again and when the smoke clears, we can see a giant red sign on the building that reads, “Parsons: The New School for Design.” From inside the building, the discharge of a shotgun rings through the debris-filled air. Jack looks behind him, terror in his eyes. A shotgun round riddles a newspaper stand beside him and he ducks for cover.
“Go go go!” Jack screams to Bill.
“Like Hell I will! I’m a big damn hero!” Bill yells back, but has to take cover again when a shotgun blast hits the side of the SUV. He peers out from under the car, trying to get a better look at Jack’s pursuers.
The camera zooms in on the hands holding the shotgun — perfectly manicured — before moving up the Armani suit, the silk pocket square and Windsor knot to reveal none other than… Tim Gunn. “This worries me, Jack.” He lowers the shotgun for a moment, looking in Jack’s general direction with a cocked eyebrow. “That fabric choice is all wrong.”
“WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR, YOU SON OF A??” Jack yells back.
Tim rolls his eyes as he levels the shotgun at Jack again. “I just don’t think we can make this work, Mr. Bauer.” He fires the gun again and it almost penetrates Jack’s cover. Jack looks left, then right, then to the sky. He’s really screwed this time… and the screen fades to black.
Like, oh my god! Right?
Okay, fine. So maybe I never received such a clip. And maybe Jack isn’t running around New York in a peacock muumuu. But I would totally watch him if he was. Especially if Tim Gunn was the evil criminal mastermind. But alas, according to Fox’s official description, Jack will be fighting… well, it actually doesn’t say:
“Set in New York City, “Day Eight” unfolds amidst the shadows of the Statue of Liberty and the United Nations as President Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones), alongside new chief of staff ROB WEISS (Chris Diamantopoulos), negotiates international security with OMAR HASSAN (Anil Kapoor), a determined Middle Eastern leader visiting the U.S. on a peacemaking mission. As the new day begins, an upgraded CTU operates under the command of M.B.A.-schooled, razor-sharp head honcho BRIAN HASTINGS (Mykelti Williamson), who supervises quirky CHLOE O’BRIAN (Mary Lynn Rajskub), expert data analyst DANA WALSH (Katee Sackhoff) and systems analyst ARLO GLASS (John Boyd).
COLE ORTIZ (Freddie Prinze Jr.), an ex-Marine who wants to follow in Bauer’s footsteps, leads field operations while Agent RENEE WALKER (Annie Wersching) returns with an agenda of her own.”
From what I’ve garnered from the handful of previews Fox has been running (’24’ is one of the few shows I try to remain as spoiler-free as possible with), Jack will be fighting a group of terrorists from Mr. Hassan’s country who are determined to stop the security treaty from being signed. There may or may not be an assassination involved. He’ll also be balancing saving the world with his renewed family life as Grandpa Bauer.
While I enjoyed the “rogue former-CTU agents fight corrupt government officials and Not!Halliburton” storyline last season, it’ll be nice to have CTU back. As entertaining as Jack running from the government may be, it requires that much more time devoted to getting around, “How did Jack get this information/resource/gadget, etc.?” I’m more excited to have Renee Walker back. I was certain the writers would find a way to kill her off last season, but she managed to survive! Unlike a certain silver-haired gentleman that I’m not bitter about at all because he totally was wearing a fire retardant suit and faked his death to keep Jack safe. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. Anyway, I like that her character brought a bit of vulnerability to the ’24’ world that didn’t involve flailing around and looking like a general idiot. Spawn, I’m looking at you.
Even more interesting are the additions of Katee Sackhoff and Freddie Prinze Jr. to the show. I heard rumors of David Anders joining the cast as well, but I’m not sure in what capacity. I’ve only seen a few episodes of ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ but I really enjoyed Katee Sackhoff’s performance as Starbuck and hope that she can offer some tension between her character Chloe without coming off the way that Janice (Janeane Garofalo) did. I’ll never be able to watch Freddie Prinze Jr. without laughing because — let’s face it, “She’s All That” is something that you never really put behind you. And not in a good way. But I really enjoyed the parallels between Chase Edmunds (James Badge Dale) and Jack during Day 3, so hopefully the writers will play around with that relationship a bit. Few things will top Tony’s betrayal last season, but I have hope.
Last season was a vast improvement over Day 6 in terms of Bauer-screentime. I wasn’t a huge fan of Day 6 because, really, the only reason I watch ’24’ is for Bauer-oriented ass kicking. If I want to watch politics, I’ll pull out my West Wing DVDs. If I want to watch well-written character drama, I’ll watch Mad Men. But when I have a beer and a pizza on Monday night, I want Jack Bauer stuffing towels down people’s throats or strangling terrorists with his thighs. Not a whole lot to ask for, right? Last season should have suffered from the same problems as Day 6 because it was so politically oriented, with Taylor’s new administration as the focal point for the action. However, the writers took full advantage of Jon Voight as the villainous Jonas Hodges, which I think helped keep the pacing up. This season, the peace talks between President Taylor and Omar Hassan (you may recognize Anil Kapoor as the game show host from ‘Slumdog Millionaire) should be a passive enough backdrop for the action without drawing the focus away from the action too much. And maybe Jack will win 1,000,000 rupees! Then he can buy himself a nicer dress that matches his Man Purse. There’s always hope.
So, ’24’ fans, what are YOU looking forward to this season?